Just like everything in life, the more we look into it, the more we discover and the more informed we are. We know this journal piece will be testament to that as we share this empowering conversation with the talented and inspiring owner of our making facility in India, Avneet.
One thing is for sure, we are so proud and grateful to be partnered with such leaders and a philanthropic team in the fashion world. Avneet, is pathing the way forward for change, for not losing generational traditional art forms and for nurturing all in India.
Avneet is part of the United Nations branch for women and works on social issues and gender equality. She is one of five thousand signatories in the world to sign a petition to bring gender equality into her organisation.
“It’s a big issue that we have in India, women are not given enough chances to work, so I made a conscious decision to employ an even balance of 50% women and 50% men. We give women the opportunity to work, it’s not a common practise in India, and we are proud to be paving the way forward for change. I have also set up a movement in the workplace that is a safe space to talk through anything that my staff need to. There are lot of issues that predominately women face in the home and I wanted my staff to be able to talk through them” Avneet says.
“My father started the business 38 years ago, he was one of the very first niche clothing exporters from Jaipur. Sadly he is no longer with us and I became the owner of the family run business. As time progressed and the pressure to produce fast fashion with screen printing became in such high demand, we began to find ourselves doing what didn’t feel right for our staff, our planet and our ethics. We called it the pressure cooker. The team were exhausted, the traditional art form of hand block printing was disappearing and the love was getting lost. I’m a firm believer in energy and that everything carries energy. So, I turned the business around and it is people like Megan from Daughters of India that we love and respect. We now have a peaceful workspace and everyone is happy.
“We hand block print everything and even run courses for children to learn this incredible art form. It’s an age old craft and it takes time (something that people don’t want to give you). I believe in good vibrations and when you do it with purity and enjoyment this is reflected in each garment. Each Daughters of India dress that we produce by hand carries a special piece of energy from India. I could watch the team hand block printing everyday, there is something so methodical, organic and beautiful about it. The artisans have so much joy in this art form, it truly holds magic to it.
“Generally speaking though, everyone wants their garments instantaneously, but not the Daughters of India team, they tell us to not stress, and to get it done when we can and in our own time. They operate from the same space that we do… from care and nurture for everyone. We give them so much love and support but what we get back is even more. The honesty and transparency is heart warming. I have written too Megan so many times letting her know how much the brand has supported the people of India. The biggest example I can give for this is when Covid-19 hit, so many brands stopped production with us, it was a hard and horrible time and one that we are still navigating through. Everyone took a very bad hit. We were left with fabric and garments half done. Daughters of India vowed to not stop any production and to find a way to support the families who couldn’t leave their homes. People were scared to leave their homes, as Covid was taking so many lives. So we identified families in the community that have the traditional skills of hand block printing and we offered to deliver the materials and anything they needed to their homes so they could work in their safe space. Each family can have 10 to 15 people living with them and not only did they need something to do during this time, they also needed to earn a wage to feed everyone and survive. We now have a community of 15 seperate families who are all block printing from home and we have vouched that we will keep them in work. This would not be possible without Daughters of India.
“Single handedly any one of us can take small steps to keep the community going and create change. We continue to look at every facet of our organisation to do good. We have almost removed all plastic from our facility and are aiming to be zero waste. We use solar power and are currently using 50% solar. We harvest rain water for the washing of clothes, and we are Sedex Compliant. We have 100 staff members and I hope to continue to grow and give more people a job. I have a staff member who has been working with me for 25 years and had come from a very orthodox family who did not want her to work. She asked me if her daughter could work with me because she wants to be a fashion designer, so we gave her a job. We are changing entire family systems and moving away from workers in India being a male eccentric place where women feel harassed and intimidated. This is just one example of the many staff members I have who are creating positive ripple affects in their communities for change.
“I want to thank each and every one of you who have purchased a Daughters of India piece. I hope this journal article allows you to realise the depth that your purchase is truly doing… You are supporting so many families in India. Thank you and enjoy the positive energy of your beautiful new hand block printed garment made by us.”
By Erin Pyers